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 Review The Night of the Assassin
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2005 :  09:44:27  Show Profile


The story line of this episode is set in Mexico with another attempted assassination of Juarez. The story line reminds me of Jack O’Diamonds instead of a horse; however, we have everyone wanting the Assassin. Like Diamonds we have three groups. There is Jim and Artie, the Mexican Secret Service, and Barbossa’s group. Artie and Jim are in rhythm of working with each other. Jim calls for a bottle and Artie doesn’t even hesitate even throwing a woman out of his way. He asks Griswood to get him two passes and Artie understands what Jim is up to.

Barbossa, Colonel Arsenic, I would nominate as the most chilling villain of the series. He is calculating and knowledgeable. He is complete in his investigations. He even has Jim’s dossier. That is why I should have known from the beginning that he was behind it all. He would never have let that fake padre pass, as he did, if he wasn’t behind it all. Of course, this is just one of the twist in this episode. Artie being in that coffin was a mouth dropping surprise. I suppose that Lupita has a woman bodyguard was another. Where was here bodyguard during the rest of the show? I think that was dumb in fact most of the scenes with her were dumb.

I do wonder what Artie and Jim were doing there. We know why Griswood was there. Don’t you just love his voice? It is hard not to miss who he is. Another puzzle comes to mind, why if they could get their train there, why didn’t they take Jack O’Diamonds by train?

I can’t leave without mentioning that costume malfunction.

out of five 1/2

Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
209 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2005 :  16:46:19  Show Profile
Wow couldron,
I wasn't expecting to review this episode until this weekend. Keep 'em comming!. TNOT Assassins is a great down to earth espionage plot. Yeah, its a Presidential Assassination plot, but there are more layers to this plot than what we are used to. Misdirection as the main theme comes to mind. "Barbossa can't be the villian because he's too obvious!",(Yet he is!) "Jim and Artie are forced not to officially investigate the assassination attempt!",(Yet they do!) "Just who is this Mysterious Mexican Woman?", (Sadly, a let down when we finally find out the truth.) and "What conspiracy truly lies behind Juarez's assassination attempt?" (Truly chilling in that it is not your usual revenge seeker or mad scientist.) I was truly glued to my tv set trying to figure this plot out.

Kudos to the best teaser and opening to Act I in the entire series. Very Bondian and action pact showing lighting quick teamwork to the assassination attempt of Juarez on behalf of our heroes. Never before have we seen them so perfectly in concert. I even love how Jim and Artie "officially" cannot work on this case due to the danger of implicating the US, but handle it anyway. This makes the plot more tension filled because if our duo is caught the good ol' US of A is the prime suspect, thus the mission demands the same slyness and stealth that was used in the opening of Act 1.

Robert Loggia truly surpasses 1st season's Warren Trevor with this truly realistic plot. Alas, We knew that Trevor could not buy up a whole lot of Africa for a wildlife preserve, but here Loggia is truly menacing. Best case in point is his frustration that Halverson is unconcious and can't go though the torture. However, when you think about it Barbosa is truly chilling because he is behind the assassination attempt as well and is willing to torture Halverson anyway. (If that isn't evil, I don't know what is.) I also, love how it was the Mexican Dignatary from the teaser behind the conspiracy, with Barbossa as nothing more than hired muscle. Again, very Bondian in that we have the mysterious head of the conspiricay, but Barbossa is just as interesting to the plot also.

The Mexican Secret Service plot twist ruins a perfect episode for me. I did love the awesome fight in the pottery shack, with no pottery left standing, but The secret service girl was so dull and unrememorable that I can't even remember her name. She wasn't strong or threatening, thus her slapping our heroes after kissing them is more cringeworthy than effective. I am happy that Artie gets a girl too though in the closing even if we did not see her in the rest of the episode.

Our heroes are once again on top marks. Jim is great and I can even forgive his knock out the soldier and use his uniform as a disguise trick here. After all, Barbosa would have found Jim out no matter what due to his very thorough file. Artie is wonderful as both Halverson Sr. and the priest. Halverson Sr. maybe a wee over the top in the scenes with Col. Arsenic, but I love how straight forward and demanding Artie is with the would-be-assassin in the cell. Yes, Artie in the coffin was truly a surprise, but what is even more chilling is that as Shakespeare dictates Halverson was not released, but must have been killed off by Barbosa in some kind of horrifying manner.

One of the great thrillers of our favorite show. 3 out of 5 stars.

Herr Ostropolyer

"Arsenic can't torture a sleeping man." Artie as the Elder Halverson speaking to the would-be-assassin in TNOT Assassins.
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2005 :  18:40:30  Show Profile
Herr Ostropolyer
excellent review as alwways. I agree with almost every point but one.



quote:
I also, love how it was the Mexican Dignatary from the teaser behind the conspiracy, with Barbossa as nothing more than hired muscle. Again, very Bondian in that we have the mysterious head of the conspiricay, but Barbossa is just as interesting to the plot also.


The Mexican Dignatary when asked by Jim if he were behind the plot demurred and said that he only arranged certain parties getting together. When Jim asked who he was, he answered that the gentleman could reveal himself if he wanted to. I thought this a cleaver misdirection and I also loved the calm way that The dignatary conversed with Jim.
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Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
209 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2005 :  14:42:00  Show Profile
Hey couldron,
Thanks for the clarification. As you already know, I do all my reviews strictly from memory because I've watched these episodes dozens of times over. Looks like I muddled up again. Please forgive me. But to argue my case, I feel that Barbosa is more like a Largo type villian ala "Thunderball" where he has a plan that Blofeld (The Mexican Dignatary) finances. It is by his own hand that the scheme is accomplished while Blofeld hides in the shadows. In no way did I mean that Barbosa was a Hans ala "You Only Live Twice" in which he is strong, quiet, and his violence make up for his lack of brains. I hope this clears things up, but I probably made them more confusing.

Thanks again for the complaments!

Herr Ostropolyer
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Michael
SS 1st assignment - desk job

139 Posts

Posted - 10/22/2005 :  09:06:28  Show Profile
I agree that this is a pretty good episode but I do disagree with one item in the previous post. All due respect to Herr I do not believe this is the best teaser in the entire series. I can think of plenty that I like better including TNOT Lord of Limbo and TNOT Steel Assassin. Any Thoughts?
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 10/23/2005 :  16:15:18  Show Profile
"The Night of the Assassin" is a good blend of Freiberger's first-season serious premise, Garrison's second-season gadgetry, and Lansbury's third-season emphasis on our boys' teamwork. The script by Dennis and Barret exemplify three of those scenarists' favored techniques: (1) the threat of a political coup as the MacGuffin, (2) many faces for Artie, and (3) a lot of comic banter between the agents. Like most third-season episodes, there's little here that's truly "wild," but what we have is well exceuted. Principal honors go to—

1. Walter Scharf, giving us (sadly) his only score for the series. It's a classic. Markowitz's "Jack O'Diamonds," Shores's "Firebrand," and Scharf's "Assassin" lay the foundational soundtrack for the third season. Scharf's deep marimbas, flutes, and trumpets are perfect for this outing, set south of the border, but we would hear these cues repeatedly throughout Season Three.

2. Cinematographer Richard Rawlings's beautiful lighting, even (and especially) of the night exteriors. Second only to Ted Voigtlander, who had guided the series through its first two seasons, Rawlings was the series' finest director of photography.

3. Superb costume design by Muhs and Giokaris. The agents make many rich costume changes. Please note West's spiffy (Season 2) powder-blue bolero suit in Acts II and III; before long, we'd never see it again—only that same tired corduroy trail outfit. A pity.

4. Robert Loggia's chief heavy, Barbossa—a vast improvement in menace over his Warren Trevor in Season One's "Sudden Death." Colonel Arsenic is one mean dude, providing exactly the balance this episode's comedy needs.

Whether President Grant or somebody else, the threat of a dignitary's assassination is a recurrent trope throughout the series. This episode stands out by its dramatization of an actual attempt. In fact, if you relocate this episode's original broadcast in its historical context, it's a wonder that it passed the CBS censors: the sniper with his sights set on a presidential carriage is a daring reminder of 22 November 1963—only four years previously—and his placement in a bell-tower is reminiscent of the tragic assassinations on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin during the 60s.

I'll not be giving many Third Season episodes a high rating, but this one has a lot going for it.

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